May 25, 2020

Forever blowing — noisy exhaust fans in the University Student Union Pit cause complaints

Juan Villa / The Collegian

The long lines, the loud conversations and the lack of seating plague the lower level of the University Student Union. Yet the Pit has a new inconvenience – large and noisy exhaust fans.

Installed near the lower level entrance at the southwest end, these exhaust fans servicing the newly opened Chick-fil-A, Subway and Panda Express no longer allow students, faculty and staff to relax or study in peace, causing some people to question the location and necessity of the fans.

Jacquelyn Loya, a senior physical therapy major, doesn’t know why the fans are there and has a hard time studying in the Pit because of them. She said that it is hard for her to concentrate on her studies because the fans are so loud.

“I don’t know how they expect us to study down here with those fans being so loud. I can still read but I lose my concentration a lot because the fans can be very distracting,” Loya said.

Sarina Iniguez-De La Rosa, a sociology and Chicano Latin American studies major, held the Chicano-Latino Issues Forum in the Pit just last week. She noticed the fans during the 26-hour event, which made it hard for some people to contribute to the discussions.

“I find them to be really irritating,” Iniguez-De La Rosa said. “It’s hard to hear people at the tables when trying to talk. It is just so loud.”

Ron Leach, the chief engineer for Plant Operations, said that the exhaust fans serve an important purpose. The cooking from Panda Express, Subway and Chick-fil-A in that lower area of the USU creates smoke and odor. The fans therefore blow that smoke and odor out of the building.

“Without the fans the dining area would be filled with smoke and odor,” Leach said.

Quinn Cody, the manager of cash operations for University Dining Services, said that contractors put in the fans.

According to Cody, the fans are important, but can be distracting.

“They are really noisy,” Cody said.

Mallory Newton, a junior mass communication and journalism major, said that the fans are annoying, but doesn’t think that anything can be done. Since the fans have already been installed, she doubts that the school will pay to relocate the fans.

“I think that they are annoying, but what can be done? It would probably cost the school a lot of money to move them,” Newton said. “I think that students will just have to find a way to get used to them.”

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